Of course, this being a new blog and all, it's only natural that people stumbling upon this blog would like to know the answer to the question posed in this first blog entry's topic. Before I answer that question, I'd like to talk a little bit about why I named this first blog entry the way I did, and why I decided to start a blog in the first place.
Lately, I've come to a realization. Let's say you, Dear Reader, are asked the following question: "Who are you?"
Some people answer with the basics. "I'm a 29-year-old man", for instance. (Don't I wish.) Others go into their family status: "I'm married with nine children." (I, personally, have slightly less children than that.) Most people then go into their occupation, because for most people, this is what defines them as a person: "I'm a bank teller", "I'm a car salesman", "I wrestle elephants on TV." Whatever. Not hard, right? It should come natural to discuss whatever it is that you do for a living.
Now suppose, for whatever reason, you're ashamed to admit that you wrestle elephants on TV. (Why? I dunno. Seems like a great career choice to me.) So when someone asks you what you do for a living, you either make something up ("I'm a brain surgeon", for example) to make your life sound more exciting, or maybe the elephant wrestling is just a part-time job. Most of the day you're a teacher at an elementary school, so you give that as your standard answer.
Right after you answer the question, part of you is upset with yourself for your answer. Why would you do that? You love elephant wrestling. You took classes at night to learn how to do that. It's been your passion ever since you fell into the elephant exhibit of the zoo as a five-year-old kid, right? So what's stopping you from telling someone about it?
I have recently realized that I am guilty of exactly that same thing. When people ask me what I do for a living, I immediately say to them, "I'm a software engineer working at a hospital." Never once do I say, "Oh yeah, and I'm a writer too." Even that answer sounds like it's an afterthought. If I said it fast enough or soft enough, no one would even notice. When I'm out and about and someone asks for a business card, or if I need to offer some contact information to someone, I never once reach for one of my writing business cards.
It has taken me a long time to realize what I've been doing. I've had other people point this out to me, but like everything, it doesn't sink in until you really starting noticing it for yourself. Once I did start noticing it, I tried to understand why. A quick check of my emotions gave me the answer.
It's fear. The fear that the people I'm telling won't take it seriously. That they'll laugh at me, make fun of me, think I'm wasting my time. After all, what future is there in writing? I'm certainly no expert in it. It's just a hobby, right? I've been doing it for less time than I've been a software engineer. And my day job is a good paying job, with good benefits. Why would I need anything else?
Here's the thing about that kind of fear. That kind of fear is very powerful. It produces a downward spiral. Fear of discussing what that passion of yours is not only makes you embarrassed to talk about it, but more embarrassed to do it as well. Lacking the confidence to say you're an elephant wrestler kills your confidence to actually DO elephant wrestling. The mind is a powerful engine, but that power can turn it into an engine of destruction if you allow that fear to creep in.
How you do combat this fear? It's tricky. As I said, fear is very powerful. But I know how you can start. It all starts with how you answer the question, "Who am I?"
Which is the main reason why I started this blog in the first place. To begin to face my fear.
Finally, here is my answer to the question: "Who am I?"
I am a 41-year-old man, a husband, and a father. I am a pet owner, with 4 cats and 1 dog. I an a software engineer who works at a hospital. I love playing piano, camping, hiking, and bicycling.
And, I'm a writer. I'm PROUD to be a writer. I'm a PUBLISHED writer too, which means someone out there thinks I'm good at it, even though I still feel like a beginner.
Most important, I'm no longer afraid to admit I'm a writer.
So, who are YOU, Dear Reader? Feel free to comment, and more importantly, don't be afraid to.